Planning for Our Future

Village Master Planning Project


Background

In 2023, the state of Vermont awarded a Bylaw Modernization Grant of $13,400 to Charlotte to fund a comprehensive rewrite of the Land Use Regulations to help bring the Town's permitting rules in line with the policy goals set forth in Charlotte's voter-adopted 2018 Town Plan .  Shortly after that, the Chittenden Regional Planning Commission allocated another $72,000 to the town to fund an intensive two-year project to conduct town-wide outreach and engagement, scenario and infrastructure planning, and bylaw rewrites for development of master plans for Charlotte's historic East and West Villages.

Guided by the town's Planning Commission, this project will build upon recent state of Vermont designation of its two village centers via a ‘deep dive’ into our land use regulations and Town Plan to identify and remove regulatory barriers to enable "smart growth"  in Charlotte's two historic village centers. With assistance from Dubois & King, a Vermont-based community planning firm, residents will contribute ideas to a shared vision for more vibrant and diverse village centers. This element will entail extensive engagement with town residents via public meetings, surveys, focus groups and design workshops to identify desired housing types, businesses and community spaces, and to determine the need for new infrastructure that may be required.

This project also includes a $12,000 outreach study (Initiated by the town's Energy Committee) to examine community needs, interests and concerns about transportation.  We hope to learn about residents' interest and demand for alternatives to the use of private vehicles to get around town, including increased access to safe walking, biking, public transit, and parking options in and nearby the village centers.

The consultant team will synthesize input from residents to develop conceptual plans for each village (with visual layouts of design options for buildings, streetscapes and community spaces). This plan will be shared with the community and discussed at meetings of the town Planning Commission before it's finalized.  After that, the consultant team will prepare drafts of recommended changes to the Charlotte Land Use Regulations to allow that shared vision to be realized.  The Planning Commission and Selectboard will review and revise these draft rule changes, which will be discussed over several public hearings prior to any decision to adopt those amendments.  Residents will have ample opportunities to weigh in with concerns and suggestions prior to that decision.

This project launched in winter 2024. For more information, see this website.  Project updates and work product drafts will be added to the sidebar at right, as they become available.  For more background on how this project plans to apply 'smart growth' principles in ways that respect and preserve the historic character of our rural villages, check out this overview of Vermont Traditional Neighborhoods from the Vermont Natural Resources Council.

Questions and comments: Larry Lewack, Town Planner, at 802-425-3533 ext. 206, or via email.

 

Amendments to Charlotte Land Use Regulations (LURs)

With the December 2021 transition of all land use permitting reviews to a new Development Review Board, Charlotte's Planning Commission has shifted its focus from permitting reviews to preparing draft updates to the town's Land Use Regulations (LURs) and Town Plan.

The Commission's work product (draft changes to the zoning bylaws) will be much better if we have involvement from volunteer town committees, residents, elected officials and other stakeholders with an interest in revising and updating our rules for what can be built in town. Our overall goal is to update the LURs to make sure they closely follow the intent of the adopted 2018 Town Plan, and more clearly align with community values and standards.

Following state statute, the Planning Commission is required to hold at least one public hearing on proposed LURs amendments prior to finalizing these drafts, and often changes its draft following that hearing, reflecting community feedback. We are also required to notify neighboring towns. Once drafts are finalized, they are reviewed by the town attorney, then forwarded to the Charlotte Selectboard for additional review, and at least one more public hearing. The Selectboard determines the final wording.  Please note: As of July 1, 2023, per Act 47 of the Vermont Legislature, the Selectboard may choose to adopt amendments directly, or warn them for a town-wide vote for adoption at a later date. (This is a change from prior practice of all LURs amendments that were always decided upon via a town-wide vote by residents.)

The Commission has started working on the next round of proposed LURs amendments, expected to be ready for Selectboard consideration sometime in 2024.  The Planning Commission welcomes your interest and participation in this process at our scheduled regular meetings (held on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays at 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.), or via written comments in between meetings, to Town Planner Larry Lewack.

Regional Plan update:

2025 ECOS Plan Development Underway:
The Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission is in the process of developing the 2025 ECOS Regional Plan, and is seeking community input on many topics like housing, climate, energy, land use, and more to inform our regional goals and priorities for the next eight years. In the meantime: View a 2-page overview of the ECOS Plan and the list of 17 goals » | View the draft actions for every goal »Contact Sarah Muskin with questions and comments »

Take the 2025 ECOS Plan Survey!
Please share your feedback on each of the 17 draft ECOS goals in this survey, which should take no more than 5-10 minutes. Completing this survey will qualify you to be entered into a $50 Visa gift card raffle. Raffle winners will be chosen twice in May. The survey will close at the end of May. Take the Survey »

 

Documents: